People with epilepsy experience seizures. If you see your child or loved one go through a seizure, it can be extraordinarily traumatic for the person having the seizure and everyone else. If you know someone with epilepsy, it's important to know how to help the person in the best way possible. Many times, the seizure ends before you have any time to react. However, when you do find yourself in a position to help, here's what to do.
Tips to Help Someone During a Seizure
When someone has a seizure, don't panic. Simply follow these tips to best help the person.
- Move things out of the way. The person having a seizure will make sudden and unexpected movements. Remove obstacles that they could hit during the seizure.
- Do not put anything in the person's mouth. Many people have the misconception that a person having a seizure can bite off their tongue and swallow it. This is not true, and the person faces significantly more danger with something in their mouth. They could injure their teeth or jaw. They could even swallow the item in their mouth and choke.
- Put a pillow, blanket, or something soft under their head. This keeps the person from hurting their head.
- Turn the person on their side so that they can breathe well.
When to call 9-1-1
Seizures are scary, but sometimes the person wakes up quickly and seems fine. How do you know if they need immediate medical attention? Most times, calling 9-1-1 is not necessary.
Call 9-1-1 if...
- the seizure lasts for more than five minutes
- this is the first time the person has had a seizure
- multiple seizures occur in a short period of time
- the person injures themselves during the seizure (especially if they hit their head)
- the person could have ingested water because this could have gotten into the lungs
People with epilepsy will have triggers that indicate that a seizure may occur. Triggers are different for everybody, but there are common triggers that people with epilepsy mention over and over. If you have a loved one who experiences seizures, help them find their triggers by keeping a record of the conditions surrounding their seizures in complete detail. A person with epilepsy will not necessarily experience seizures only during certain triggers, but tracking when they might happen can help everyone prepare.
- lack of sleep or poor sleep patterns
- drug use
- low blood sugar levels
- time of day
If you or a loved one experiences epilepsy, it's important to be seen by a neurologist. Schedule an appointment with a neurologist, such as Mohsen M. Hamza, M.D., today.